AAA Cardinals finish strong but struggle in bantam tournament

Hamilton opened the Mississauga Tournament in the top of the first with an RBI triple from Braden Johnson, giving the AAA Minor Bantam Cardinals a quick one-run lead. The Cards would get one other hit in the third and that was it for the promising offense as the Cards would lose 4-1 to the Markham Mariners.

Hamilton would complete the tournament with one win in four games, dropping a 5-2 decision to the Brampton Royals and a 9-8 contest to the Etobicoke Rangers before rebounding in their final contest to beat London Oak Ridges Reds, 14-6.

Markham’s pitching and defense completely shut down the Cards. Hamilton pitcher Justin O’Reilly and the Card’s defense put in a stellar performance keeping the Mariners off the scoreboard until the sixth. With two gone, the Mariners would score three runs aided by Cardinal infield errors.

O’Reilly gave way to reliever Nick Ott who would allow an unearned run and get the final out. “The Cards forgot to bring their bats tonight,” said Cardinals’ head coach Eddie McConnell.

Assistant coach Osmar Nunez said, “We can’t rely on just one run and expect to win.”

Markham coach Ricky John said, “It (the game) was tight. Their errors gave us the game.”

In Hamilton’s second game, the Cardinal bats failed once again recording only one hit by Mikey White.

Card’s starting pitcher Marlon Krupa managed to keep the Cards in the game giving up five walks, one hit batter, three hits, three runs, and one strikeout. Two of the runs were unearned. Krupa was aided by a strong error-free defense.

Krupa was pulled in the fourth for reliever Owen Angus-Yamada. He would yield one walk, two hits, three strikeouts and two runs. The two Cardinal runs came in the third and both were unearned. Brampton coach Joe Ferreira said, “That was a good defensive game. The pitching on both sides was strong. It was a battle of the lefty pitchers. We were able to take advantage of hits and opportunities.”

To finish the tournament, the Cardinals scored three unearned runs with no hits to start the game against Etobicoke.

Hamilton’s defense shut out the Rangers in the bottom of the first with two spectacular running grabs in centre field by Card’s Chandler Robertson and a nice catch in right field by Krupa.

Card’s pitcher Ott would give up two earned runs in the second. He would get one back with an RBI in the top of the third and Christian Nunez would steal home to give the Cards a 5-2 lead.

The Cards would give up two unearned runs in the bottom of the third. Ott pitched well, allowing four walks, four hits, no strikeouts and two earned runs against a powerful Rangers’ offense. He would leave the game in the fourth with the bases loaded and nobody away. Cards’ reliever Angus-Yamada would give up three earned runs and one unearned run as the Rangers left the bottom of the fourth with an 8-5 lead.

The Cardinal bats finally came to life in the top of the fifth with five hits. Nunez would belt a double and get two RBI and Michael Singh’s ribby would tie the score at eight. The Rangers would be retired in order in the bottom of the fifth and the Cards would be retired in order in the top of the sixth.

Angus-Yamada walked the first Ranger batter in the bottom of the sixth. He struck out the next two Rangers. The fourth batter would get a walk and the fifth batter would hit a routine grounder but a defensive error allowed the winning run to score.

Cardinal assistant coach Tom Porter said, “The kids played well. It’s a tough way to lose by just a run.”

Rangers coach Dave Lauzon said, “That was a tough game against a tough team that had no quit in them.”

Exhausted but not defeated in spirit after their third game of the day, the Cards showed their true mettle in their fourth outing.

They scored four runs in the top of the first. Braden Johnson would steal home, White would get a ribby and Angus-Yamada would get two more with a stand up double.

White, the Cards’ starting pitcher, retired the Reds in order in the bottom of the first. Card’s Michael Singh would steal home in the top of the second and the Reds would reply with two earned runs in the bottom of the frame.

The Reds would start a new pitcher in the top of the third and the Cards would get two unearned runs to build a 7-2 lead. The Reds would get an unearned run in the bottom of the third. White would leave the game with no walks, three strikeouts, four hits, one unearned and two earned runs.

Hamilton sent in Hayden Bailey who would give up two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Both teams were held off the scoreboard in the fifth. The Cards scored three runs in the top of the sixth with Johnson’s two RBI double. The Reds would reply with an earned run in the bottom of the sixth.

The Cards responded with four runs in the top of the seventh with single RBI to Liam Whalen and Grant Preece. Bailey and the defense retired the Reds in order in the bottom of the seventh sealing the win.

Cards’ assistant coach Nunez said, “The kids had fun and it was good to look at the two new arms (White and Bailey).”